Legislative Regulation of Traditional Medicinal Knowledge in Eritrea vis-à-vis Eritrea's Commitments under the Convention on Biological Diversity: Issues and Alternatives

 

Senai W. Andemariam
Lecturer of Law
Department of Law
College of Arts and Social Sciences
P. O. Box 601
Asmara, Eritrea
senaiwoldeab@gmail.com

 
 

On 21 March 1996, Eritrea acceded to the Convention on Biological Diversity which, among others, obliges states to sustainably conserve and develop customary uses of biological resources. Among the many forms of traditional practices of biological resources is traditional medicinal knowledge. Research has revealed that Eritrea has abundant pool of such knowledge and a high percentage of its population, as it is true with many developing and underdeveloped countries, resorts to traditional medicine for curing numerous ailments. However, no specific policy or legislative framework has yet been developed to sift, preserve and encourage the practice. Analysis of existing Eritrean laws and policies will show that they are neither adequate nor specific enough to be used in the preservation and development of Eritrean traditional medicinal knowledge. This article will, therefore, in view of the rich, yet unregulated, traditional medicinal knowledge resource in Eritrea, highlight the need for the development of a specific legal instrument legislation for Eritrea from the perspective of international and country level experiences. It will be argued that the development of a specific legislation is preferred to the alternative of keeping traditional medicinal knowledge as a component of a legal instrument developed for a larger mass such as health or traditional knowledge.

 

CBD, Eritrea, legislation, traditional medicine, traditional medicinal knowledge.

 

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